Will Zelalem be in Arsenal squad next season?

Will Zelalem be able to break into the Arsenal first team next season?

The news that Zelalem will be returning to the club to fight for a place in the Arsenal first team squad next season, has both its advantages and disadvantages. It’s good news because Zelalem has always been highly rated by the club, although he has spent the last few years away from first team contention since making his debut. But it also raises the question, is Zelalem going to be Arsene Wenger’s ‘like a new signing’ player for this summer?

Every transfer window it seems that Wenger plays the ‘he’s like a new signing’ card. Wenger said this on previous occasions, notably Wilshere’s return from his injury in 2011-12, as well as the more recent return of Francis Coquelin last season. It is frustrating because instead of investing in a top quality player, Wenger instead will try to justify bringing back someone already on the books and trying to play them off as a much needed boost for the team. On occasion it does work, as witnessed in the cases of both Wilshere and Coquelin and who’s to suggest that Zelalem won’t be the same. However I don’t think Arsenal fans could suffice with Wenger failing to secure top calibre players yet again, instead deciding to go with youth.

Gedion Zelalem has been on Arsenal’s books since 2013, signing from Olney Rangers, his local side in the lower American Leagues. He made his debut the following year in the FA CUP and followed up with a Champions League appearance later in 2014. Zelalem had short spells in both games but impressed in the time he had on the pitch. Zelalem is yet to make his debut for Arsenal in the Premier League but his performances for both the Under 21’s and Rangers this season, could prompt club officials to give the United States Under 23 player a chance in the first team.

On his return to Arsenal, Zelalem told the Metro; ‘The whole point of a loan deal is to get experience and I’ll go back to Arsenal and strive to get involved [in the first-team] there. The contact has been good and they get a lot of feedback and scouts have been coming to watch the games.’

Zelalem has been ever present for Rangers this season and has made 20 domestic appearances for the Scottish club, winning both the Scottish Championship and Scottish Challenge Cup in the process. The 19 year old has showed his quality of passing on the ball and midfield creativity, features that he has also shown for both the Arsenal first team and the Under 21’s.

With Alex Iwobi most recently making the transition from the Under 21’s to the first team, Zelalem is more than likely to be in with a chance of being included at the very least in some match day squads next year, especially in the earlier rounds of the league cup competitions.

Will you be excited to see this highly rated youngster finally make more of an impact for the Gunners next season? Leave your comments below.


Tags Rangers Zelalem


  1. Zelalem is a massive talent, but i think he will find it hard to get a place.

    Let’s assume we buy Xhaka this summer. We will have the following midfielders fighting for a place: Ramsey, Wilshere, Coquelin, Xhaka, Elneny, Cazorla. Ozil has the nr10 with Iwobi and Wilshere also as backup.

    We also have loanee Jon Toral returning who had an excellent season at Birmingham. I see him more entitled than Zelalem at the moment. Than we also have to think what to do with Isaac Hayden who had a decent loan spell.

    Of these 3 I see only space for 1 maybe if we push it hard 2. My guess it will be another loan spell for Zelalem.

    1. Kidding right???we need world class players not youngsters who are unproven. Where will he fit? Enough of this crapppp

      1. I was just talking midfield and we are adding hopefully adding a world class player in Xhaka. We also have academy players and loanees we need to look after. If Xhaka happens we have enough in our midfiled which makes it hard for players like Zelalem to come through.

        Just remember Messi or Iniesta they came through the Barcelona academy. So did Kane for spurs. It is about getting the mix right between bleeding players from academy in the first team with new purchases.

  2. Zelalem might have talent. but he is too slight of build as well as too timid to be thrown in the 1st quad…Dude needs to bulk up some and develop some “minerals” first.

    1. Messi is slight build so is Cazorla and so is Kante and they still kick ass. More to do with ability and attitude..

    2. Yes. And there is an even larger problem. I watched him play several games for club and country and was frankly VERY disappointing.

      He may have talent, but many of his performances this season were not impressive at all. He needs to improve greatly before any talk of 1st team Arsenal football.

  3. Next season is the season to demonstrate ambition like never before. Not to experiment with youth. The way Rashford blew up for ManU really made me wish we’d have kept Akpon and given him a run to see what he could do.
    What really needs to change for our club isnt necessarily how much we’re willing to spend on a player but how much we’re willing to pay that top class player. Let’s be honest, there lies our true obstacle. If Alexis isn’t worth an easy 200k+/week then who is?? I bet he looks around the league and sees players that don’t mean as much to their squad getting paid more then he does and I’m sure he asks himself why?? Rooney gets paid close to 4x what Sanchez and Ozil do and I don’t see how Arsenal can possibly justify that. No way anyone can say Rooney better then either one of them. THAT’S THE REAL PROBLEM imo

    1. I have to agree about the wages. Walcott and Wilshere are almost on what Alexis is on right now. Wilshere’s new deal if true, Ozil isn’t too far ahead. I think Ozil and Alexis should be on a sizably larger amount than anyone else. Both should get the same as the other. After that then Cech Cazorla Koscielny Bellerin Monreal and work from there.

  4. Wenger took Zelalem to Asia
    3 seasons ago saying this
    guy is going to be a star.
    But his time at Rangers saw
    him struggle for game time used mainly
    as a sub or played in games against lesser teams.
    How can he be ever present when he played in only 20 out of 45 games???
    More loan spell me thinks.
    Toral was the best of our loanees by a long way.
    I reckon he is as good as Ramsey Walcott and Chamberlain and not
    injury prone like Wilshere and much younger than Arteta and Rosicky.
    But is he a Wenger favourite?

    1. That was probably what the move was all about, trying to build up stamina. When he wasn’t played it would’ve been because he wasn’t used to playing a full match, never mind playing entire follow up games. He was easily one of Rangers most talented players, just didn’t have the strength and stamina to keep it up. If you persist with a player in the red, injury becomes all the more likely , a bad one too. Rangers have looked after him, their players took up for him, and they gave him ample time for recovery, so well done Rangers. Pulis is a wknaer. Gnabry is twice as fit as Zelalem?.

    2. The problem with loanees is that they are temporary. So you need to be way way better for a manager to choose you before a permanent player as most loanees leave after a year. Unless there are some sweeteners like first refusal on buying the loanee.

      Zelalem did so so, Toral did extremely well and he is the one that deserves a shot at the first team before anyone else.

      But remember even Coquelin has a so so loan season. Kane for Spurs did not do well on loan. So don’t read to much into it.

  5. Wenger has already suggested that there are at least six youth player’s who could make the step up into the first team, next season.
    You can bet that he will be buying a few more Youngsters during the summer transfer window, which basically tells us that he won’t be signing many already established players to fit straight into the team.

    There has been strong rumours about Xhaka being a done deal, but the player himself is saying that no offers have been made, to his knowledge and that he would like to know where he will be playing next season, before the Euro’s kick off!

    1. If we get 1-2 players a year out of the academy into first team we do well. They cost less, they love Arsenal.

      2013/2014 – Gnabry
      2014/2015 – Bellerin / Coquelin / Martinez
      2015/2016 – Iwobi

      In current academy we have the likes of Reine Adelaide, Chris Willock, Bielik, Nelson & Crowley to look forward too.

  6. We have three that we know of departing this summer. Three players all from the engine room. I like seeing youngsters get a shot, so long as it’s in spurts to begin with. I love seeing a Bellerin type situation happen. For me, Zelalem should be behind Ozil, Cazorla, Iwovbi playing between strikers and midfielders. He is not tough enough to play directly in the centre, which means he can be our last midfielder at times. I think we’re going to bring a relatively well known name into our CM, if not Xhaka well then another. I think if we do that there will be an opportunity to promote one youngster. Personally, Id prefer it to be Bielik, he’d be last in line so may never see the first team on a PL outing. We probably all have one youngster chosen from our academy who we’d like to see tried or next in line.

  7. Watch Youtube video: “Xabi Alonso vs. Granit Xhaka – Midfield Generals Go Head-to-Head”

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